Getting closer…

Hitting the USPS today:

September 21, 2009
Ms. Lucinda M. Babers
Director, Department of Motor Vehicles
Government of the District of Columbia
PO Box 90120
Washington, DC 20090

 Re: Citation #543436103, 9/7/01

Dear Ms. Babers:

Thank you very much for your letter dated September 18, 2009. I know you’re very busy and I appreciate your responding directly to my September 12 letter addressed to the DC Treasurer.

In response to your kind invitation, I am enclosing a copy of check #580 dated October 22, 2001, in the amount of $45.00, cashed by the DC Treasurer on November 30, 2001.   My recollection is that we did not pay the citation immediately, but did remit promptly upon receiving the second notice plus the corresponding fine, which increased the total due to $45.00.

Your letter stated that the DMV processed a check in response to the above-mentioned citation for $15 from me on October 1, 2001, but based on my records, I’m not sure that either the amount or the date is accurate. I am convinced now more than ever that this multi-year misunderstanding is the result of a simple human error.

As I stated in my numerous previous attempts to correct this mistake, while we did not write the citation number on the check, we did enclose the remittance slip in the same envelope when we sent you the check. Because the DMV accepted this money and has been in possession of it for eight years, I trust that this letter will finally prove that we paid the citation in full at the time it was due.

Again, I am most appreciative of the time you took to respond to me, and I accept your gracious apology for the inconvenience this matter has caused me. I trust that you are sufficiently empowered to fix this situation immediately before it escalates any further.  I have taken the liberty of copying Mayor Fenty and Mr. Gandhi on this letter so that they may be kept abreast of this situation.
Enclosures:   Copy (front and back) of check #580 for $45.00, 10-22-2001
Copy of 9/18/09 letter from Ms. Babers

Cc:  Adrian Fenty, Mayor, District of Columbia
  Natwar M. Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer, District of Columbia

Making progress

My letter must have gotten someone’s attention! I received a letter from Lucinda Babers, the Director of DC’s DMV, in Saturday’s mail.  I had copied her on my letter to the DC Treasurer in response to those annoying collections calls I was receiving. She said:

Our ticket information system indicates that a check payment was processed on October 1, 2001 in the amount of $15.00 for ticket 543536103. Therefore, the balance of $30.00 is still due. If you have a cancelled check showing a $45.00 payment, please send it to me for review.

I apologize for the inconvenience this matter has caused you.

Why yes, Ms. Babers, although your process date seems to be in error, in fact I DO have a copy of the canceled check! Could it be as simple as sending it to you? Heck, if I’d thought it was as easy as writing to the director (and copying her boss), I’d have done this long ago! Watch your mailbox, Ms. Babers. Here it comes.

Stay tuned for the follow-up correspondence…

Pen pals for eight years: DC DMV and me

dc_flagMy friends in the DC DMV are reaching out to me again, asking me to pay that fine we paid waaay back in 2001! I thought they had finally fixed their records.  I was wrong. The following letter is hitting the mailboxes – and cyberspace – today:

 

 September 12, 2009

Professional Account Management
c/o DC Treasurer
PO Box 37038
Washington, DC 20013-7038

RE: Citation 543536103, 9/7/01

To Whom It May Concern:

I received a call from Bridget at Professional Account Management on Friday, September 4, 2009, asking me if I wanted to pay the balance due on my outstanding citation (referenced above). Bridget’s call was a surprise to me, because my last contact with Professional Account Management was in April 2008. I was hopeful that my last letter finally resulted in DC correcting its accounting records.

I am not writing to appeal this citation, but to provide proof – once again – that we paid the DC Treasurer $45 to satisfy this citation and the penalty for late payment – in October, 2001.

Bridget stated that we are still being asked to pay this citation because we did not write the citation number on the check.  And she’s right; we didn’t. However, this omission did not stop the DC Treasurer from promptly cashing our check #580. One would think that during a routine reconciling of records, this random $45 deposit from us could have been easily credited to the only outstanding citation in our name.

However, apparently your recordkeeping systems (or staff) were not able to make this obvious connection. In fact, some of your previous invoices indicate that we paid $15 towards this fine, confusing matters even further. I have spent the past eight years trying to demonstrate to you that, if you simply match up my $45 deposit with this citation, you can cross this little nagging amount off your follow-up list and – even better – balance the District of Columbia’s budget, which, I fear, may have been out of whack by exactly $45 since 2001!

I should not be held accountable for this error. I paid. You took my money. Your staff failed to properly credit my payment to the one outstanding citation to my name. Your mistake; not mine. Best of all – it’s easily rectified.

If you would kindly review the enclosed correspondence – along with the copy of the check deposited by the DC Treasurer – and update your records to show that Citation 543536103 is paid in full, I would be most appreciative. It’s that simple.

In an odd way, your pluck and determination to balance your records is admirable (albeit misguided) .  Even though you are in the wrong, I must say your steadfastness over all these years has been impressive.  So impressive, in fact, that I would strongly advocate that your diligent folks in Professional Account Management should be given more authority to more carefully watch over all the District’s finances.  Their zealous oversight might, for example, have saved the District’s taxpayers millions of dollars, avoiding that embarassing $50 million shortfall that Harriette Walters and her cronies so cleverly orchestrated.  That is but one example (one of many I am sure) where this sort of effort might be better applied.  And, best of all, in that case, you’d even be right!

If you are unable rectify your error, which is amply supported by my attached evidence, then I would suggest that the DC Treasurer actually owes me the $45 that they were unable to match to any pending debt in my name. After all, you did take my money.

Once I receive my refund, I will happily re-send it to you so that you may have another chance to note in your system that Citation 543536103 is, in fact, PAID, and has been for almost eight years.  If not, I am afraid I may have to turn your records over to a collection agency and insist on proper restitution.  And we all know what a pain those pesky calls can be!

So, for the 8th consecutive year, may I kindly suggest that you focus your efforts on collecting fines that have not, in fact, already been paid.  I promise to keep writing you until you finally correct your error.

Cc (w/o attachments):

Adrian Fenty, Mayor, District of Columbia
Natwar M. Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer, District of Columbia
Lucinda M. Babers, Director, DC Department Of Motor Vehicles

(…oh yes, I most certainly did copy them!)